The Chanel Jacket Diaries, Part 8

Mix two sleeves, a Peter Pan collar, two front pockets, tonal lining, and some buttons together… sounds like a recipe for a basic jacket, right? But what separates one jacket from the other? In today’s episode, let’s explore the anatomy of two “basic” ivory jackets, one from the exclusive house of Chanel and the other from the mass-retailer empire of Zara.

As usual, I am late to the fashion party that’s been happening at Zara stores around the world…for years. Because of the Chanel blinders I have on, I’ve only recently discovered what everyone already knows–why Zara is so successful: trendy yet polished tailoring, better than average fabrication (in most cases), and very reasonable price points. Its founder is not the fourth wealthiest person in the world for nothing!

In their most recent spring collection, I found some adorable jackets. Let’s just say even the full retail price of this jacket maybe can cover the price of one button on the Chanel jacket… but is it fair to compare apples to oranges?

The Chanel Jacket Diaries, Part 8: The Chanel jacket featured today is a most delicate concoction from the 05P season. The chiffon silk is the blank canvas on which braided ribbons are embroidered. As if that isn’t fantastic enough, there are sheared strips of silk overlaying (do not even ask me how these strips are attached) the fabric itself. It’s like sprinkling angel dust on top of what’s already golden. The more I deconstruct a Chanel jacket, the more I appreciate the art of the textile. And the more Chanel adheres to and preserves this true art form, the stronger my blinders stay on. But that’s from an art student’s point of view. In reality, it’s in the eye of the beholder. I don’t know that I can defend one jacket against another unless you can touch the Chanel fabric up close and in person, especially when the design is not complex.

I find no fault in my Zara jacket; in fact I think its silhouette is quite chic. I do not know if it will hold its shape after a few rounds of wear by me and tumbles at the dry cleaner, but it won’t kill my wallet if it does not. It is replaceable.

Likewise, I find no fault in my Chanel jacket, but it might be a little harder to replace!


  1. ckm

    The Zara doesn’t look bad but I also feel that its one of the better Zara purchases! I personally feel that you need some shopping experience to filter such a jacket from all the clutter that’s omnipresent at the retail floor. And not to forget to filter from all the “…inspired by pieces”.

  2. Sarah

    Yup, Zara is nice to get the look- but no comparison in terms of sheer loveliness. It’s very hard to show in a photo, but side by side it’s obvious! CHANEL jackets are works of art, zara are just jackets. I did a similar blog post actually.

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